Junior Nationals Rugby Sevens: West Bengal completes clean sweep

The West Bengal boys defeated Maharashtra 12-7, while the girls beat defending champion Odisha 17-5 in the final.

West Bengal boys and girls pose with their Junior National Rugby Sevens Championship trophies.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

West Bengal completed a clean sweep at the Junior Nationals Rugby Sevens Championship, as it finished with top honours in boys' and girls' categories. The West Bengal boys defeated Maharashtra 12-7, while the girls beat defending champion Odisha 17-5 in the final.

“It’s a very special moment; we have won in both the categories after a long time. The players trained extremely hard ahead of the tournament and the results speak for themselves. The success is a sum of complete team-work and co-ordination between the players and the management,” said the boys’ coach, Sanjay Patra. 

Maharashtra, the runner-up in the boys’ category, staged an upset in the semifinal when it defeated defending champion Odisha 7-5. Odisha went on to finish third after beating Bihar 19-0.

Tamil Nadu finished fifth and seventh, in the boys’ and girl’s categories, respectively.

Sendhil Thyagarajan, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Rugby Football Union, said the level of competition had certainly increased this year. “There were many closely fought matches this year and title-defenders in both categories were defeated, which shows the level of competition.”

He added, “The sport is growing rapidly in India, especially in the women’s category and we are possible medal contenders at the upcoming Asian Games.”